@bod:Next door to West Virginia Quilt, Gloria Limb's son, Jason Limb, mans the counter at David Hill Limited, a coin and stamp store owned by his grandfather, David Hill. In business for more than 38 years, the shop has seen four locations before finally landing on Barboursville's Main Street.
"It's off the hustle and bustle of Route 60," Jason Limb said of the store's new location. "It's more laid back here than it would be when we were on [Route] 60."
Unlike some of the other shops in downtown Barboursville, David Hill Limited has little competition in the surrounding area. Jason Limb said the closest coin shop is in Charleston. And while local pawn and gold shops offer similar gold and silver buying services, Jason Limb said that they offer little in competition.
David Hill Limited could be described as what Spudich calls a "destination store."
"That's a place you're going to drive to buy something," Spudich said.
That's precisely what some of David Hill Limited's customers do, Limb said. He said customers will drive from all over the West Virginia/Ohio/Kentucky area.
"People come from Beckley, Charleston, Ashland, and they pass every place to come here," Jason Limb said.
What's more, he said, customers who have not been to the shop in several years will still make their way back to the store on occasion.
"Our phone number has been the same for over 30 years," Jason Limb said, "so even people that haven't seen us in 10 or 15 years, they go to our old location and will still call us, and we direct them here."
Around the corner from Main Street, in a bright yellow house across from the local bank on Central Avenue, Eva "Jean" Spurlock, owner of Genie Inc. Embroidery, monitors the machines that put logos and inscriptions on hats, shirts and other articles of clothing. Her business keeps her busy, she said.
"If we worked 24 hours for the next week, we might get caught up," Spurlock said.
Genie Inc. has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Spurlock said she began in her Barboursville home's kitchen with one machine. Over the years, her business has taken on many ventures, including screen printing. At one point her company designed and constructed baseball caps from fabric.
"I hired a lot of people," Spurlock said. "But that's not my thing anymore. China can make them for 50 cents each, whereas I couldn't."
Spurlock decided that the embroidery work made the most sense for her operation. Now, with the help of her daughter, Spurlock said Genie Inc. produces mainly industrial embroidery pieces for clients, with the occasional walk-in customer supplementing her work.
"People come here," Spurlock said. "We can work 16 hours a day. We don't really do a lot of advertising. They just know we're here."
Competition for Genie Inc., even in Barboursville's downtown area, abounds. Another embroidery shop opened recently down the street, at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue.
"There's been five [embroidery] businesses go in, four more around here close," Spurlock said. "The more that goes in, the busier we get."
Part of Genie Inc's success could be in experience. Spurlock said she has been doing embroidery work for over 45 years. In that time, she has been able to build a strong client base and win the trust of her customers.
Spudich, the Marshall professor, notes that small businesses are in a unique position that allows them to win the admiration of their customers. Experience may be one that sets them apart.
"You have to earn your customers' respect," Spudich said. "Big business just want numbers."
Many small business owners interviewed for this article call Barboursville or nearby towns their home. Some, like Childers, the pet salon owner, have lived and grew up in the town. Others, like Gloria Limb, the quilt store employee, have lived and worked in the area a majority of their lives. Most agree that the town is a great place to run a business.
Save for the occasional complaint about parking -- Main Street, for instance, has only a few dozen parking spaces in front of the shops featured in this story -- most business owners and employees said Barboursville's downtown offers an advantageous location coupled with its small-town feel.
"Barboursville is the best little village in West Virginia. And everyone knows that," Spurlock, the embroidery shop owner, said. "And it really is. It's just a convenient place."
In spite of the competition offered by big chains on Route 60 and the Huntington Mall -- and, in some cases, even from fellow small business owners in the Village -- business owners say they'll keep trying to succeed.
"It's a competitive world," Limb said. "We are going to make sure we stay here because we love it here."